House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Sunday the U.S. should consider holding military trials for terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay and that American jurors might enjoy the taxpayer-funded trip to Cuba.
"Other juries are sequestered and it's a Caribbean island," Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said on CBS' "Face the Nation" when asked by host Bob Schieffer about how to get jurors to the island. "It's not like it's the Archipelago or Siberia."
Mr. Hoyer's statement follows the civilian trial last week of Ahmed Ghailani, who was convicted on just one of roughly 270 charges related to the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa. The case has renewed the debate about whether the better venue is a military commission or civilian court for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
This is just ridiculous analogy. If we sent potential jurors on this "vacation", they aren't going be with their loved ones seeing the sights around Havana, laying up on the beach, or catching some gnarly waves. They're going to holed up in a military barrack away from their families against their will. The only sites that they'll be seeing will be the inside of their housing and the courtroom. It may not be literally Siberia, but they might as well be. They're be in a social Siberia.
It's not a bad idea to move it back to Cuba for security reasons. Gitmo is one of the most secure military facilities in the world. We won't have to deal with the obvious terrorist threat as much as we would anywhere else. It would take away an all-too tempting target away from Al-Qaeda.
Regarding the overall premise behind the analogy, if we do move it back to Cuba, why not just turn it back over to the military? We wouldn't have to uproot people out of their lives and tear them away from their families. Plus, it is a waste of money to sequester them for weeks and transport them hundreds of miles to Guantanamo Bay.
The military is much better equipped to handle these kind of trials, anyway, as the civilian trial of Ahmed Ghailani, where he was acquitted of all but one of the around 270 charges because of evidence that was erroneously thrown out, more than adequately proved.